Published on: January 11, 2022
When you need to compare home health care software, having a set of guidelines to help you sort through the many features and benefits can be of great assistance. A good home health care software system provides essential support for many of your agency’s needs—accounting, billing, inventory, and more. With the right software, you’ll have more time to focus on patient needs, and that’s what counts!
Essential Features to Compare in Home Health Care Software
Why bother with specific home health care software? Why not try to make do with basic accounting software?
If you’ve ever tried to fit a square peg in a round hole, you’ll know why in an instant. Typical small business accounting software isn’t made for the unique requirements of the home health care industry. For example, how do you track inventory items by patient in a system that’s not even made to handle inventory analysis, let alone bill them back to a specific patient—who may have two or more insurance companies paying for their home health care needs?
Now add into that the challenges of reconciling invoices from multiple providers as well as billing multiple payers for each patient and you’ll understand why we don’t recommend trying to shoehorn small business accounting programs into your agency!
Download Our Free Guide to Home Health Care Software
When you begin to compare home health care software, it can be a daunting task. We make it easier with our free guide to home health care software. Download your guide today and compare home health care software with ease.
Features to Look for in Home Health Care Software
Each agency has its own unique needs when it comes to home health care software. Depending on your specific services, staffing requirements, and workload, you may have a very special set of features that you need. But, in general, most agencies need the following features:
- Accounting platform: Home health care agencies need a robust accounting system that can be easily customized to accommodate their needs. Better still, software that is easily configured for the home health industry is ideal. The basic accounting software package should include a general ledger feature, accounts payable and receivable, and a billing system that can quickly and easily bill multiple parties.
- Staff solutions: These may be bundled as part of the accounting platform or an add-on, but they should enable your caregivers to record their time and bill hourly. Additionally, you may want the option to pay people via check or direct deposit and pay employment taxes online through your system.
- Inventory management: Home health agencies often carry large inventories with hundreds or thousands of SKUs. Items such as bandages, gauze, catheters, wound care products, and much more need to be counted and managed. A good home health agency software platform includes the ability to track and monitor inventory levels.
- Cloud platform: Although not required, a cloud software system makes managing a busy home health care agency much easier. Cloud software runs over any internet-connected devices and offers real-time access to data. It can be used in your office, from your home office when you’re catching up on work, and by aides and caregivers as they work with patients. It makes tracking hours and inventory easier, and offers excellent flexibility, security, and affordability for most agencies.
- Security: Security should be top of mind when searching for any software, but especially for home health care agency systems. This is also where cloud software platforms shine. They offer exceptional protection against hacking and other cybercrimes, as well as frequent backups to ensure that no matter what happens, your data is protected.
Seven Tips for Shopping for Home Health Care Software
Once you’ve read our guide to home health care agency software selection, it’s time to start shopping. Take your time and compare home health care software carefully to make the smartest choice. These tips will help.
- Establish your goals: What are your goals and needs for home health care agency software? To figure out your goals and needs, think about your biggest headaches. What are the main problems the software should solve? Is billing a nightmare for you, payroll, or reconciling insurance and payer processing? These are clues that will lead you toward identifying the primary needs your software should fill.
- Write out the requirements: Writing down the requirements for the system helps you compare apples to apples when shopping for home health agency software. It’s always helpful at this stage to gather a team of employees from various departments of your agency, including accounting, operations, information technology, and marketing, to the table to identify system requirements. What must the software do? Which systems should it connect with? Do you need reports, and if so, what kind? Now is the time to really dig in deeply with your team to list out the system requirements.
- Budget: Just like building a house, you can build a small cabin in the woods or a mansion in Hollywood, each with a very different budget. Are you building your software equivalent of a cabin or a mansion? Don’t be afraid to set a budgetary range with a low and high end, and leave a cushion for unanticipated expenses, such as updating your internet connection to improve cloud performance or perhaps purchasing additional software packages such as human resources management to enhance a basic home health care system.
- Explore your options: Gather as much information as you can about various systems before contacting vendors to ask questions and schedule demonstrations. With plenty of YouTube videos demonstrating the system, you can get a pretty good idea of the system before you actually meet with a vendor.
- Narrow down your choices: Once you’ve read up on software systems and viewed numerous demos online, it’s time to narrow down your choices. Now pick up the phone or connect online with the software vendors of your choice. Be sure to have a specific set of questions based on your goals and requirements ready. These will form the basis of your home health care software comparison shopping. When you are able to ask each vendor the same questions, you can easily compare the answers to see how they stack up against each other.
- Take the software for a trial run: If you can use the system for a trial period, do so. See how well you like it and how closely it matches your requirements list. Is it solving the problems you listed in step 1? Is it helping you meet your agency’s goals?
- Ask about data, security, and payment: Now is the time to make sure the home health agency software meets the data requirements and security needs of your agency. Patient privacy needs, HIPAA requirements, and medical privacy laws require a specific level of privacy and security built into the system. Additionally, find out about payment terms, data ownership and governance, and other specific details about the system. You want to gather all your facts before signing on the dotted line and purchasing your home health agency software.
Ready for the Next Step?
Purchasing home health agency software is something you do once every few years, and a lot can change in those intervening years. Even if you think you understand how to shop for and buy software, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the process of selecting home health agency software as well as in general about software.
A few resources you might want to explore include:
- The Right Home Care Management Software Helps You Grow Your Agency
- Using Technology to Improve Health Care Agency Service
- 5 Benefits of an Integrated Home Health Agency System
- 4 Reasons Why Your Cloud System Has Better Security Than You Think
- Protecting Payments, Protecting Yourself in a Home Health Care Agency
If you’re ready to take the next step, we’re here to help. Contact Mindover Software today.